Editor’s Note: Story updated at 3:12 Eastern with the news of LeBron James being ‘out’ for the Lakers tonight and other injury information. Updates below are in bold.
The Association is throwing another six-pack of games at bettors today. It’s so great to have gambling opportunities on the regular again! And yes, I love the Orlando bubble format where we have day games.
I went 2-0 Wednesday, cashing with Utah in its win over the slumping Grizzlies. Indeed, it was more of a fade of Memphis than backing the Jazz. Whatever the case, it worked just like my play on ‘over’ 225.5 points in Boston’s 149-115 demolition of Brooklyn for 264 combined points.
After a rough go the first few days of the NBA restart, I’m 3-0 since Tuesday to improve to 91-66-1 (58.0%, +1,814 on $100 plays or +18.14 Units) on the season. That has me in third place among 33 NBA handicappers at VegasInsider in both winning percentage and overall money (units earned).
Let’s get you prepped for Thursday’s action with some notes, stats and injury information, in addition to reviewing what went down in O-Town on Wednesday…
–New Orleans and Sacramento will collide in today’s lid-lifter at 1:30 p.m. Eastern on NBATV. As of late this morning, most books had the Pelicans installed as 4.5-point favorites with a total of 234. The Kings are winless in three games since the restart and have lost four in a row, including Tuesday’s 114-110 overtime setback against Dallas. With the exception of Sacramento’s Marvin Bagley, who is out for the rest of the season, both teams are healthy. The ‘over’ is on a 6-1 run for the Kings.
–As of late this morning, Denver was a four-point underdog tonight vs. Portland. The Nuggets are in a back-to-back spot after capturing a 132-126 win yesterday over San Antonio. Michael Porter Jr. has been one of the biggest stories coming out of Orlando so far. He had 30 points and 15 rebounds against the Spurs, draining 11-of-19 field-goal attempts and 5-of-9 launches from 3-point range. The rookie out of Missouri only played a handful of games in his lone year in college and then missed all of the 2018-19 campaign due to multiple injuries. Porter had 37 points and 12 boards in Monday’s 121-113 overtime victory over OKC.
–Portland is 2-1 straight up and 2-0-1 against the spread in Orlando. The Trail Blazers are a MUCH better team as currently constituted compared to the unit that played all but three games of this season without Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic before the restart. Nurkic is averaging 22.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 3.3 blocked shots and 1.7 steals in his three games back.
–Denver’s Paul Millsap (rest), Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) are ‘out’ tonight vs. Portland. Jamal Murray (hamstring) remains ‘questionable.’
–Miami and Milwaukee will collide today at 4:00 p.m. ET. on TNT. As of late this morning, the Bucks were installed as nine-point favorites. They’re looking to avoid a third straight loss after falling against Houston and Brooklyn on Sunday and Tuesday, respectively. Jimmy Butler is ‘out’ for the Heat due to an ankle injury, while Goran Dragic (ankle) is listed as ‘questionable.’ Wesley Matthews (calf) and Brook Lopez (back) are ‘questionable’ for the Bucks. When listed as an underdog of 7.5 points or more this year, Miami has produced a 3-1 spread record. Meanwhile, Milwaukee has compiled a 12-3 ATS ledger in 15 games as a favorite between 7.5 and 9.5 points. The ‘over’ is 40-26-2 overall for the Heat. UPDATE: Dragic has been ruled ‘out’ for Miami, but Matthews and Lopez are expected to play for the Bucks.
–Many books released win totals for the final eight regular-season games in the bubble. As VSIN’s Ben Fawkes pointed out on Twitter earlier this week, the ‘under’ on Milwaukee is already a winner.
–If you missed any of my coverage of the betting scene Tuesday when Brooklyn shocked the Bucks, you can check it out here. Also, our Blake Von Hagen reported on a five-team parlay that paid a BetMGM gambler more than 50 large.
–For a 4:00 p.m. ET. tip today, Indiana is a 2.5-point favorite vs. Phoenix. Both clubs are undefeated in three games in the bubble. The Pacers have won five of their last six games, going 5-0-1 ATS, and they’re 9-2 SU in their last 11 contests. The Suns are 5-1 both SU and ATS in their last six games. The ‘over’ is on a 5-2 run for Phoenix in its last seven outings, while Indiana has seen the ‘over’ go 7-2 in its past nine games. Malcolm Brogdon, who averages 16.3 points, 7.1 assists and 4.7 RPG, is listed as ‘questionable’ for the Pacers with a neck issue. UPDATE: Brogdon has been cleared to play.
–T.J. Warren has been the catalyst for Indiana in its three wins. He’s averaging 39.4 PPG, including a 53-point effort in a win over the 76ers. The North Carolina State product has made 47-of-72 FGAs (65.3%), 14-of-23 attempts from downtown (61%) and 11-of-12 at the charity stripe (91.6%).
–Oklahoma City improved to 27-9 ATS in 36 games as an underdog with Wednesday’s outright win over the Lakers by a 105-86 count. Billy Donovan’s club dealt out a pimpslap as a 5.5-point ‘dog. It was announced earlier in the week that Donovan and Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer were voted as the 2020 NBA Co-Coach of the Year by their peers. All five OKC starters scored at least 13 points last night. Chris Paul led the way with 21 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Dennis Schroder missed his second straight game after leaving the bubble to attend the birth of his child. It is unknown when Schroder will return to the team, but it’ll undoubtedly be before the playoffs start and perhaps as early as this weekend.
–The Lakers are in bounce-back mode tonight for their 9:00 p.m. ET. tip on TNT vs. Houston. As of late this morning, most spots had Los Angeles installed as a one or 1.5-point favorite with a total of 227.5 points. The under has cashed at a 6-1 clip for the Lakers in their last seven games. Russell Westbrook is listed as ‘questionable’ with a quad injury. Dwight Howard is ‘questionable’ for the Lakers, who are 2-2 SU and 1-3 ATS in four games in Orlando. UPDATE: LeBron James is ‘out’ tonight vs. Houston. Also, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reports that a source has told him that Westbrook isn’t expected to play, either. Houston has gone from being a short underdog to a 3.5-point favorite at most books. The total is down to 225.5 points.
–A run of 15 consecutive ‘overs’ for the Orlando Magic ended in last night’s 109-99 loss to the Raptors, who look capable of repeating as NBA champions with the way they’re playing right now. The Raptors led 26-11 at the end of the first quarter and held a 20-point advantage at intermission. Orlando’s Aaron Gordon left the game with a hamstring injury and isn’t expected to play Friday vs. Philadelphia.
–Philadelphia won a 107-98 decision Wednesday over Washington, but the Wizards took the cash as 10.5-point underdogs. Joel Embiid paced the 76ers with 30 points, 11 rebounds, three assists, three steals and two blocked shots. The 205 combined points fell ‘under’ the 227.5-point total to end a streak of eight consecutive ‘overs’ for Philadelphia. Thomas Bryant has played extremely well for the Wizards in Orlando. He had 19 points, 10 rebounds, four blocked shots, two steals and one assist without a turnover against the 76ers.
–Philadelphia All-Star forward Ben Simmons is out indefinitely with a subluxation of the left knee cap. He’s currently considering his treatment options.
–The Clippers will be without both Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley for tonight’s game vs. Dallas at 6:35 p.m. Eastern on TNT. Seth Curry is ‘doubtful’ for the Mavs, who are 4.5-point underdogs. The total was 228 or 228.5 points late this morning.
–After resting in last night’s blowout win over the Nets, Boston’s Kemba Walker (knee) has been upgraded to ‘probable’ for Friday’s game vs. Toronto.
–DraftKings currently has the Lakers and Bucks as +250 co-favorites to win the NBA Finals. The next-shortest odds belong to the Clippers (+310), Raptors (+1100 or 11/1), Rockets (14/1), Celtics (20/1), 76ers (25/1), Nuggets (30/1), Heat (30/1), Jazz (40/1), Mavericks (50/1), Thunder (70/1), Trail Blazers (80/1) and Pacers (100/1).
–I’m sticking to my pick from October — the Clippers. With that said, I’m not against a small taste of the Raptors and/or an even tinier amount on Portland.